Gary James' Interview With Bill Voccia Of
They are known as "The World's Greatest AC/DC Tribute"! Formed in 2000, Live Wire has performed on five continents, as well as XM Satellite Radio, featured on CBS Sunday Morning News, acknowledged by AC/DC's Angus Young, are the only AC/DC tribute band to be featured on AC/DC's official website, SONY Music, AC/DC's official YouTube and Facebook pages and AC/DC's only official documentary, AC/DC Fannattion. Rhythm guitarist Bill Voccia talked with us about Live Wire.
Q - Bill, you are one of the founders of Live Wire?
A - Yes, that's correct.
Q - How long did it take you to establish this reputation for Live Wire as being the very best AC/DC tribute group?
A - Well, I guess it took some time. It took a lot of years because the first five to six years it took to solidify ourselves and get ourselves out of the local area from New York where we started and start getting our name out there, starting to play different states and different venues and bigger venues. Sure enough, we got picked up by this AC/DC Marathon that was being run out of Finland. They called us up and invited us to come and play. It was a 24 hour AC/DC marathon where all the bands that were there were from Finland except for us. We were the only international band that was invited, one of only two actual AC/DC tribute bands that were there. The rest were just regular bands that were doing an AC/DC song. What they had us all do was a full album, each band did a full album in chronological order from beginning to end. It lasted over 24 hours of actually playing. We ended up doing the "Highway To Hell" album in its entirety. From there I guess we just got a lot of exposure and we started getting some other international shows and more bigger and better venues. It spread pretty well after that.
Q - Do you typically play larger venues like theaters?
A - Yeah. For the most part we get hired to play theaters and festival type shows and also large casinos and outdoor biker rallies, festival shows and some private corporate events as well.
A - Is there in fact a lot of work for a group such as yours?
A - Yeah. We tend to stay very busy. We all have our regular, daily lives, our regular jobs, which is a full-time thing for us. We tend to do it on the weekends. Every once in a while we are fortunate enough to have positions in our work where we can take off if necessary to do a tour. We are actually lucky enough this past Summer to have done a tour for the military. We did a tour in Egypt, Spain and Turkey for the troops over there. That was a really cool experience for us. The troops really seem to appreciate it. It was really a nice thing to do. We'll have times when it will fluctuate. One year it will be really busy in the Winter and then it will taper off and pick up again. This year (2014) it started off a little slow in the Winter, but it's picking up and we'll be really busy in the Spring and Summer. We are already having shows being booked for the Fall of this year (2014). So, it'll probably be a pretty busy year for us again.
Q - How many gigs a year did you generally play?
A - Off the top of my head, 20 to 25, something like that.
Q - Is it important that every guy in Live Wire look like the guy they are portraying in AC/DC?
A - We really try to get that across as much as we can. For the most part I would say our lead singer, Angus, that's primarily number one as far as the look goes. We do try to emulate the other members in the band as well as much as we can look wise and we definitely do emulate their stage presence and stage movements and maneuvers very accurately. That's definitely part of an AC/DC stage show, is the visuals, what the other band members are doing behind the scenes.
Q - Do the guys in AC/DC know about Live Wire?
A - They do actually. A long time ago, when we first formed the band, myself and drummer met the band. We did a meet and greet with them in the Hard Rock Cafe here in New York City for an album release party. Then we saw them a couple of weeks ago for a Virgin Mega Store meet and greet that they did. We had T-shirts made up and gave them the T-shirts. Brian Johnson shook my hand and told me, "Never stop rockin'."
Q - What were you doing before you put this band together?
A - Musically?
Q - Yeah. Were you in another tribute band? Were you in a Top 40 band?
A - Actually, before Live Wire I was in another AC/DC band called Ball Breaker, which was like from '96 to '98. That band kind of fell apart after a while. I was putting ads out, trying to put another AC/DC band together and met up with the drummer that way. I kept in touch with our singer from Ball Breaker and he said once I got some members that looked like they were going to be serious about it, he would jump on board with us. So, he took some time and then finally in 2000, things started happening a little bit. We had an Angus at the time and got our original singer back from Ball Breaker. A couple of years later we got the lead guitarist back from Ball Breaker. To answer your question, I came from another AC/DC tribute band before. Prior to that I was playing in various Hard Rock, Heavy Metal type bands, doing originals and some covers.
Q - How did you know an AC/DC tribute act would be successful?
A - The reason I wanted to do an AC/DC is because they have become my favorite band since 1980. I'm a huge AC/DC mega-fan. I collect AC/DC albums and memorabilia. So, I'm pretty much an AC/DC fanatic. They have always been my favorite band. It's really my desire to play the songs. That's where that comes from. There might be a couple of other bands where I might feel I'd want to do a tribute to, but AC/DC is really where it is in my heart. I think all the band members in Live Wire would agree, that's why we do it, because they love the music so much. We don't just go out there doing it because we want to make money. It didn't start out that way. We started out doing it in the small, little places, local places in Long Island. We weren't making a whole lot of money back then. We just did it for the fun of it. It still for the fun of it for us, but we are fortunate enough that we get to travel and play some bigger places for some bigger audiences.